Date Reviewed:
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4th April 2008

Summary:

"Awake" is a psychological thriller that tells the story of a man (Hayden Christensen) undergoing heart surgery while experiencing a phenomenon called "anesthetic awareness," which leaves him awake but paralyzed throughout the operation. As various obstacles present themselves, his wife (Jessica Alba) must make life-altering decisions while wrestling with her own personal drama. Clay is a rich young man who believes he can never live up to his father, he has a mother who believes she cannot surrender her son, and his beautiful wife (Alba) coming between them. It also involves Clay's determination to have the transplant performed by Dr. Jack, his trusted friend, instead of his mother's recommended surgeon. While Clay does everything to ensure the operation will go without a hitch, something happens during the surgery, something unexpected, something questionable, something that Clay is aware of but unable to do anything about. As Clay's life lies in the balance, the two people who love him the most seem unaware and unable to do anything about it. The life and death situation is literally in someone else's hands.

Review:

Awake begins slowly and continues on that pace until you feel as if you've been cheated, but about 2/3 of the way in, it picks up speed, and then rumbles to its jolting conclusion. Plenty of red herrings along the way, but you won't see them unless you know the ending! Jessica Alba looks fantastic, as usual, and this film showcases many of her charms. The cinematography has the grainy feel of a cheaper late-70's-to-early-80's quickie, which adds a little to the neat charm of this lean mystery/chiller. There's not enough meat on the bones of this storyline to rate Awake higher than 2, but the surprises along the way may encourage you to increase that number.